Syria's Assad: Little chance peace talks would succeed - newspaper

LIMA Sat May 18, 2013 6:13pm EDT

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) sits during an interview with journalists from Argentina in Damascus in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on May 18, 2013. SANA/Handout via Reuters

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) sits during an interview with journalists from Argentina in Damascus in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on May 18, 2013. SANA/Handout via Reuters

LIMA (Reuters) - Proposed peace talks for Syria would not curb "terrorism" in the country and it is unrealistic to think they would succeed, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published in an Argentine newspaper on Saturday.

Speaking in Syria with the newspaper Clarin, Assad said he was doubtful that mediation the United States and Russia have proposed could settle a deadly conflict that has convulsed the country for two years.

"There is confusion in the world between a political solution and terrorism. They think a political conference will halt terrorists in the country. That is unrealistic," he said in reference to insurgent groups seeking to unseat him.

Rebels demanding Assad's resignation have also voiced skepticism about the proposed peace talks.

Assad reiterated he would not resign and said peace talks would not make sense because the opposition was too fragmented to negotiate an agreement.

"No dialogue with terrorists," he said. Videotaped excerpts of the interview were posted on Clarin's website.

The Syrian conflict started with mainly peaceful demonstrations against Assad, but turned into a civil war in which the United Nations says tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Islamist militants have emerged as the most potent of the anti-Assad rebels.

On Friday, the outlook for talks appeared to hit snags.

The United States chided Russia for sending missiles to the Syrian government, while France made clear it would oppose any meeting if Assad's regional ally Iran were invited.

Russia's position is that Tehran should be part of any solution.

(Reporting by Maximiliano Rizzi; Editing by Terry Wade and Peter Cooney)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (6)
kenradke11 wrote:
Yes keep Iran out of it and furthermore the real Terrorist is Ex-President Assad who holds absolutely no legitimacy in parliament as the new coalition Government has been sworn in:). Assad had lost touch with his noggin truthfully the madman that he is. If God willed it I would be the first to pull the trigger in that loser but then I am not a cold blooded murderer like him.Terrorist that and coward that he is.

May 18, 2013 8:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Reuters1945 wrote:
“There is confusion in the world between a political solution and terrorism. They think a political conference will halt terrorists in the country. That is unrealistic.” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

There is a supreme irony in the situation facing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Though Syria and Israel are bitter enemies, by a strange twist of Fate, the government of both nations face the exact same dilemma.

Both Syria and Israel are expected to hold peace conferences with those who are Sworn to destroy them and who proclaim openly that they wish to destroy the government in power.

Israel is expected to hold peace conferences with Abbas of the Palestinian Authority whilst Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon have Sworn never to give up their struggle to destroy the State of Israel.

Likewise, Assad, while not exactly a living Saint himself, is expected to make peace with a fragmented collection of “Rebel” groups, many of whom hold views opposing one another, whilst some of the so-called Rebel groups have reportedly, as corroborated by first hand witness and video reports, repeatedly perpetrated mass executions of captured Syrian soldiers followed by blood chilling cannibalistic atrocities.

Assad is quite correct to point out that it is quite farcical to imagine he is dealing with groups that can act reasonable and be trusted. Any more than he can be trusted for that matter-if truth be told.

Thus the situation in Syria can be expected to continue to spiral out of control and escalate into a never ending and ever widening blazing whirlpool of death and destruction.

One need only observe the direction in which things have evolved in Iraq after a decade of war, with more than 1,000,000 (One Million) civilian casualties and almost three trillions of dollars spent and still counting.

Yet there is hardly ever a day when there are not several huge bombs detonated in Iraq near Mosques and markets with dozens killed and dozens more, seriously injured.

What type of twisted human beings would consider Mosques, Funeral Processions and innocent people shopping for food in crowded Markets, legitimate targets to carry on their insane and depraved hate-filled activities and blood thirsty vendettas.

It is high time that people recognize that sometimes in life, good intentions and high minded goals by “outsiders”, meaning the International Community, are no match for the total meltdown of all generally accepted modes of human behavior and lack of human reason.

Should the US, Russia or China, et al, be so foolish as to allow themselves to get sucked, directly, into the out of control conflagration that is Syria’s epic tragedy, they will not be able to build coffins fast enough to bury all the dead.

This nightmare that is present day Syria could well end up like the Spanish Civil War wherein the very brutal Dictator, Francisco Franco, in the end, outlasted his enemies, and the violence finally eventually dissipated and petered out, leaving a brutal regime in power for several more decades until it gradually evolved into a democracy after Franco’s death.

Or things could follow the Egyptian model in which the person who had ruled with an Iron Fist for decades was brought down, thrown in jail and a very different, but not necessarily a “new and improved” form of government set up.

Either way, observing the manner in which the world’s greatest powers, as well as the many “wannabe”, major powers, (read Turkey), have acted as if the Fate of the entire world, rests with the outcome of the present nightmare that is Syria, is reason to worry.

Either way this tragic Syrian story ends, no one should imagine, for even a split second that some type of Utopian Democracy will suddenly dawn for the Syrian people, any more than it has dawned in glowing Technicolor for the countless masses of impoverished and alienated religious and ethnic minorities in the Land of the Pyramids.

For the long suffering people of Syria, as for so many other long suffering people in the Middle East, as well as elsewhere in the world, a dark night has descended over those lands.

When that truly sad and terrible darkness finally begins to lift and people can envisage some form of hope for a better life for their children’s future is anyone’s guess.

But we should not hold our collective breaths.

May 18, 2013 11:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Fromkin wrote:
@Reuters1945

Nice rhetoric but truth is Syria has been attacked by the US. For those who doubt it this is one way the US attacks its preys. It does it directly(Somalia,Afghanistan2,Vietnam, Irak,Panama, Grenada) or indirectly(Nicaragua, Libya,Afghanistan1 Sudan, Syria)

Wesley Clark:

“……So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

AMY GOODMAN: I’m sorry. What did you say his name was?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I’m not going to give you his name.

AMY GOODMAN: So, go through the countries again.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, starting with Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon, then Libya, then Somalia and Sudan, and back to Iran.

The difference between Obama and Bush is just that Bush tried to do it without the UN and Obama is trying to do it with the UN or a hand picked “international community”. Bush used the US army, Obama is using the CIA and Islamic mercenaries.

The war the US sponsored in Angola was just as bloody as the Syrian war. Angola has the highest number of war amputees in the world due to that war.

May 19, 2013 2:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.